Sunday, August 29, 2004

PR CHICAGO: Sept. 11th Backlash killings explored in Cable TV interview 9-01-04

Ray Hanania/708-403-1203

Chicago -- Some 14 Americans who looked Middle Eastern, or who were Muslim or Arab were killed in the six months after Sept. 11th by individuals driven to rage by the terrorism and destruction of the World Trade Center's Twin Towers.

Anya Cordell, coordinator of the Campaign for Collateral Compassion and who has spearheaded a drive to get relatives and families of these 14 forgotten Sept. 11th victims support and funding, is the guest with host Ray Hanania on "30 Minutes."

"30 Minutes" is a monthly cable TV interview program broadcast on Comcast Cable TV in the South Suburbs, on CAN TV in Chicago and also on Bridges Muslim TV broadcast around the country. The Comcast broadcast is every Friday at 8:30 PM on Channel 19. CAN-TV broadcast will be later in September with the broadcast times to be announced.

Cordell, an Evanston native who is Jewish, said she was moved to help the families after reading about one such killing of a man who happened to be "Sikh," an Indian and non-Muslim religion.
"So many people were killed just because of the way they looked. In one case, the killer bragged about the killing sitting in a bar for more than four hours. He was proud of what he did," Cordell said.

Cordell said that in most cases, the motivation for the killings included Sept. 11th rage, but also other issues were involved. In the case of a man in Detroit who was murdered, he was killed by his girlfriend's ex-boyfriend who said he wanted to kill "that Arab" in order to also avenge Sept. 11th.

Not all of the cases have been designated as hate crimes or Sept. 11th backlash killings. And although billions of dollars in funds were raised to help relatives of the nearly 3,000 Americans killed on Sept. 11th, and also the owners of homes and businesses impacted by the event, including those requiring clean-up and re-start up funds, no monies have ever been designated to support the relatives and families of individuals murdered as a result of Sept. 11th.

For more information, visit Also

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Friday, August 27, 2004

PR WASHINGTON: Muslims play role in GOP Convention 8-27-04

Arab/Muslim Delegates at Republican Convention

The President of the Free Muslim Coalition Against Terrorism, Kamal Nawash, will be joining the Arab and Muslim delegation to the Republican convention as an Alternate Delegate.

Kamal Nawash will be attending an event titled "An Arabian Night in New York" on Tuesday, August 31 (10pm-2am). An exciting lineup of elected officials and candidates will be attending for an evening to welcome convention delegates to the richness of Arabic culture and highlight the deep roots the Arabic community have in American political life.

Special guests include Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, U.S. Senator John E. Sununu, U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, former Governor John H. Sununu, Indiana gubernatorial candidate Mitch Daniels, former U.S. Ambassador Tom Nassif, and Westchester County (NY) District Attorney Jeanine Pirro.

Other prominent guests who plan to attend include RNC Chair Ed Gillespie and U.S. Representatives Tom Davis (VA), Tom Latham (IA), Jeb Hensarling (TX), Jim McCrery (LA), Earnest Ishtook (OK), Scott Garrett (NJ), Bill Thomas (CA), Richard Pombo (CA), James Sensenbrenner (WI), and Virgina Brown-Waite (FL).

The event will be held at the Dahesh Museum of Arts-Café Opaline, located at 580 Madison Ave. (at 56th st) New York, New York.

For more information visit our website at:

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

PR LOMBARD: Muslims dismayed over ban on Islamic scholar 8-25-04


330 East Roosevelt Road - Ste. G5; Lombard, IL 60148 - Ph.:

PRESS RELEASE Chicago - Tuesday, August 24, 2004

The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, a federation of
Islamic institutions serving over 400,000 Chicago-area Muslim Americans,
expresses deep concern at the last-minute revocation of Dr. Tarik
Ramadan's travel visa by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) just
days before he was scheduled to begin teaching at the University of
Notre Dame. Dr. Ramadan was scheduled to teach Islamic philosophy and
ethics classes starting Tuesday through the Joan B. Kroc Institute for
International Peace Studies. After previously granting a visa after a
lengthy clearance procedure, the DHS suddenly revoked the visa for no
apparent reason, citing the USA Patriot Act.

In a statement released to the Chicago Tribune, the University of Notre
Dame said, "Professor Ramadan is a distinguished scholar and a voice for
moderation in the Muslim world. We know of no reason his entry should be

Expressing serious concern on behalf of the Muslim community, Council
Chairman, Kareem Irfan, stated: "By barring a highly accomplished
scholar and globally regarded Muslim intellectual like Dr. Ramadan, this
inexplicable action unfairly tarnishes this respected academic's
reputation and teaching career and also demeans the commendable,
far-sighted decision of Notre Dame to appoint him to an important
teaching position. More over, the resultant silencing of Dr. Ramadan's
visionary and moderate Muslim perspectives will seriously detract from
essential enlightenment urgently needed in our nation about Islam and
its application in modern times."

The Council urges the DHS to reconsider this decision and quickly permit
Dr. Ramadan to enter the United States and begin his teaching role at
Notre Dame. This action goes against the spirit of tolerance, academic
independence and the free exchange of ideas upon which this nation is
based. At a time when we need more voices of tolerance and moderation,
the barring of Dr. Ramadan can only be seen as counterproductive to our
national goals.


Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago
330 East Roosevelt Rd.
Lombard, IL 60148
Tel: (630) 629.7490
Fax: (630) 629.7492
Email: council

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

PR CHICAGO: New book calls on Arabs and Muslims to fight extremism 8-24-04

New book calls on Arabs and Muslims to battle extremism

(Chicago, August 24, 2004) -- A new book by Palestinian American author Ray Hanania argues that Muslims, Arabs and Palestinians must fight an aggressive war against extremism in their own communities before they can win other battles, including achieving an independent Palestinian State.

Hanania argues in "The Moral Jihad: Defining the Moderate Palestinian Voice in the battle against extremism" (Tahit al-Ard Press, Chicago) that Palestinians cannot denounce the violence against them until they also denounce the violence committed in their name by Palestinian, Arab and Muslim extremists.

In the book, Hanania argues that Arabs, Muslims and Palestinians must take a principled moral stand on issues and recognize the reality of what compromise demands on them.

"I think it is about time that our community leaders were honest about what they can and cannot do for us, and that we must tell our people what we can and cannot expect as a result of a disastrous 56 year history of occupation," says Hanania, a syndicated columnist and Palestinian peace activist.

"I also believe that I cannot expect to win world support in the aftermath of Sept. 11th if I insist on only speaking out against the immorality of actions taken against me by Israel, while remaining silent on the horrendous atrocities committed by people in the name of the Palestinians."

In the book, Hanania denounces suicide bombings not as a tactic but as a principled moral position. He criticizes those who embrace Holocaust revisionism, condone or express anti-Semitism, and calls the rise of Islamic extremism as a "divisive and destructive force" that must be stopped.

Hanania also challenges the many Arab American organizations concluding that despite :some good," most are ineffective and fail to address the real needs of the community.

"They are cowards, afraid to stand up and speak out against the extremists. They would rather ignore the extremists and attack those whos peak out against extremism. Much of today's rhetoric about fighting extremism is disingenuous and false and offered mostly as a political front. The reality is, very few Arab and Muslim organizations in America are actively engaged in combatting the rising extremism in our community that resulted in September 11th," Hanania said.

"I also believe that Arabs must also grapple with the equally important topic of rising discrimination against the Christian Arabs by the Muslim majority. We need to air the dirty laundery in order to clean the laundry and pretending these issues do not exist in the face of vicious, extremist assaults by some American Muslims against Christian Arabs is hypocritical. Further, how can we denounce Israel for being a 'Jewish State' when we refuse to denounce Arab countries that openly and more aggressively embrace themselves as 'Islamic States'?"

Ray Hanania
PO Bix 2127
Orland Park, IL 60462


Monday, August 23, 2004

PR SAN FRANCISCO: Karima's City play tobe performed in Cairo 8-23-04


For Immediate Release Media Contact: T. Yeghiazarian
August 19, 2004
Through October 24th TEL. 415.626.4061

EDITORS NOTE: Photos available

San Francisco - Golden Thread Productions has been invited to present a play from last year’s ReOrient Festival at the 16th Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theatre in September 2004. Karima’s City, by Egyptian-born Seattle playwright Yussef El Guindi, received its first fully-staged professional production under the direction of Arlene Hood at the New Langton Arts theater in October 2003. The highly-prized invitation to perform the piece in Cairo comes from Egypt’s Ministry of Culture which sponsors the multi-day festival, which kicks off on September 20th and concludes September 30th.

Based on a short story by Salwa Bakra, one of Egypt’s pre-eminent feminist writers, Karima’s City explores the breakdown of an idealistic, strong woman as she attempts to stave off, and fight against, the destruction of her city and environment. It was developed with dance and movement, and performed on a bare stage. This 50-minute ensemble piece speaks to universally shared human values. Various characters, including the neighborhood trees, are performed by the six-actor ensemble. Dance and movement, absurdist and cartoon-inspired characterizations color the minimalist piece.

Golden Thread Productions is the only theater company in San Francisco, and possibly the United States, dedicated to exploring the Middle Eastern culture and identity as represented throughout the globe. The company is made up people from around the world who share an interest in the Middle East. Performing in Cairo is a dream come true for this company that has been producing plays in the Bay Area since 1997.

One of the premiere events of its kind, the Cairo Festival last year presented works from 43 countries, including 16 Arab nations and 27 others, representing a broad range of theatrical groups and styles. American theatre organizations have participated only rarely throughout the Festival’s history. In 1999, San Francisco dancer Joe Goode was invited to bring a piece. Prizes are awarded in a variety of categories. Performances are held in venues ranging from Cairo’s Opera House to converted halls, with individual translation devices provided to overcome the difficulties inherent in a polyglot setting.
Golden Thread Productions is a San Francisco Bay Area ensemble dedicated to exploring Middle Eastern culture and identity as represented throughout the globe. We define the Middle East broadly and inclusively.

PR NEW YORK: Annual Film Series on Middle East 8-23-04

ArteEast Announces New Season of “Cinema East”

New York, NY, August 17, 2004 - ArteEast, in collaboration with the Department of Middle East Studies at NYU, presents the second year of its annual film series, Cinema East, from September 11th to December 4th in New York City. In its fall season, Cinema East features over ten U.S and New York premiers as well as other cutting-edge films from Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Iran, Tunisia and Egypt.

On the occasion of the third anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, the program opens with a special evening featuring the penetrating documentary About Baghdad. Directed by a collective of filmmakers, activists and academics, this new film addresses the current situation in Iraq as the denizens of the city reflect on the occupation and their ambivalences about their new political realities. The collective’s filmmakers will be present to address audience’s questions.

Another season highlight is The Lizard, a taboo-breaking comedy about a fugitive criminal masquerading as a Mullah (religious leader). Directed by Kamal Tabrizi, The Lizard proved to be both controversial and the highest grossing film in Iranian history. Also featured is You are My Love by Egypt’s most renowned filmmaker Yousef Chahine. Produced in 1957, this lighthearted musical starring Farid Al Atrash and Shadia, is a well-known classic of Arab Cinema.

Many of the most prominent filmmakers will be making appearances this year, including renowned Lebanese photographer and filmmaker Fouad Elkoury, who will present an evening of his films, including his recently completed Moving Out; Hala Khalil, an upcoming young Egyptian director, will showcase her debut feature film, The Best Times; Palestinian director Raed Helou will screen his award-winning film about life in Ramallah under siege, Hopefully for the Best; Tunisian Rida Behi will speak at the screening of his beautifully shot feature The Magic Box; and Sabine El Chamaa will discuss her short feature, How Beautiful is the Sea.

All Cinema East screenings take place at NYU’s Cantor film center and begin at 6 PM. General admission: $9. Students (w/valid ID) and senior citizens:$7. Advance tickets and season passes can be purchased online beginning September 1. To purchase tickets and for complete program details please visit our website at

To obtain screeners and press passes or to schedule interviews with guest filmmakers, please contact Fariah Amin at 917.981.1526 or via email at

* * * * *
Fall 2004 Program

Saturday, September 11, 6 PM

A special screening on the third anniversary of the September 11 attacks of 2001

New York Premiere
About Baghdad by InCounter Productions (Iraq/U.S.A, 2004, 89 min, BetaSP)
Shot in Iraq by a filmmaking collective of independent activists, academics, and artists, this compelling documentary follows Sinan Antoon, an Iraqi poet, who returns to his native Baghdad after twelve years of exile in the United States. His conversations with Baghdadis of all stripes build a complex portrait of resilience amid the chaos immediately following the US invasion in 2003. Schoolchildren, poets, professors, even asylum inmates express relief at the ousting of Saddam, skepticism about the interloping Americans (and émigré Iraqis like Antoon himself) who have not suffered decades of trauma, and their regrets, hopes and fears for their country in a tumultuous new era. In English and Arabic w/English subtitles

Preceded by

New York Premiere
no news… by Bushra Azzouz (U.S.A., 2002, 13 min, DVCam)
Set in the aftermath of September 11th, no news... is an Arab-American woman’s personal reflection on the cycles of violence, war and terrorism that have plagued both the U.S. and the Middle East and their repercussions in her family history.

Post-screening panel discussion with InCounter Productions team Sinan Antoon, Suzy Salamy, Bassam Haddad, Adam Shapiro, and Maya Mikdashi

Saturday, September 18, 6 PM
New York Premiere
The Lizard by Kamal Tabrizi (Iran, 2004, 110 min, 35 mm)
Now banned in Iran by clerics disgruntled by for its impious slapstick, The Lizard has nonetheless become a smash hit (reformist President Muhammad Khatami allegedly arranged a private screening). In a brilliant comic set-up, a petty thief escapes prison by disguising himself as a mullah. Inevitably, he’s forced undercover for longer than expected and, while struggling with his unwieldy new wardrobe, finds himself becoming the revered leader of a small-town mosque. The result is a smart, sincere comment on contemporary Iran: biting and sardonic, but also surprisingly religious. In Farsi w/English subtitles

Post-screening panel discussion with Mazyar Lotfalian (Yale University) and Negar Azimi (Harvard University)

Friday, September 24, 6 PM

A special program in collaboration with the Film Department at NYU’s Directors’ Series.


You Are My Love by Youssef Chahine (Egypt, 1957, 120 min, 35 mm)
A classic of Arab cinema, You Are My Love is a delightful, lighthearted musical directed by Egypt’s most renowned filmmaker and starring popular singers Farid Al Atrash and Shadia. Out of economic necessity, two Cairene families decide to marry their children. But Farid and Yasmina cannot stomach one another. Farid is secretly leading a busy nightlife, singing in a fashionable club and carrying on a love affair with its star belly dancer. Yasmina is having an affair with another man. But As they plot together to dupe their families, they can’t help but fall in love. In Arabic w/English subtitles. Print courtesy of the Egyptian National Film Center.

Saturday, October 2, 6 PM U.S. Premiere
Mashallah by Eytan Harris (Israel, 2004, 62 min, Digibeta)
In 1985 in Jerusalem, two cab drivers were brutally murdered three days apart. The first was an Israeli Jew; the second was and a Palestinian, Khamis Totangi, the absent subject of this subtle and surprising documentary. With grace and a sure sense of plot, Eytan Harris weaves together the stories of the victim’s family, the murderer, the investigators and even a part-time poet, who adds a fascinating element of literary intrigue to this tale of lives forever linked by tragedy. In Hebrew & Arabic w/English subtitles

U.S. Premiere
Hopefully for the Best by Raed Helou (Palestine, 2004, 42 min, DVCam)
Director Raed Helou describes Ramallah during the tense winter before the US invasion of Iraq as “calm, like snow on graves, and angry as an old woman who has lost everything.” The curious monotony of life during an uprising is the subject of the peripatetic camera that roams the rain-slashed streets of Ramallah. In brief encounters with Ramallah’s street sweepers, bakers and hummus makers, anxiety simmers below the surface, but everyone seeks a bit of “normal” life in the early morning, before political realities take hold of the day. In Arabic w/English subtitles

Introductory remarks by Ryan LaHurd, President, Near East Foundation

Post-screening panel discussion with filmmaker Raed Helou and Hamid Dabashi (Columbia University)

Saturday, October 16, 6 PM
‘K’ by Shoja Azari (U.S.A./Morocco, 2002, 85 min, 35 mm)
In this elegant adaptation of three Kafka stories, Azari takes the characters from a monotonous sales bureau to a palatial mansion that transmutes into a tomblike fort, from desert sun to the shabby imperialism of a colonial outpost. Shot in stark black and white, the film evokes the unease and bewilderment that dogs Kafka's K, exploring humanity’s deepest anxieties and fears in facing the modern world.

Post-screening panel discussion with filmmaker Shoja Azari, executive producer Shirin Neshat, and actors Oz Phillips and Mohammed Ghaffari

Saturday, October 30, 6 PM U.S. Premiere
The Best Times by Hala Khalil (Egypt, 2004, 113 min, 35 mm)
The latest box-office hit from Egypt, The Best Times marks the new wave of social drama in Egyptian cinema. Popular actress Hanan Turk is Salma, a young woman who struggles with an overwhelming sense of loneliness after the unexpected death of her mother, is forced to leave her stepfather’s house in a rich suburb of Cairo, she returns to Shobra, the popular neighborhood where she grew up. A series of anonymous letters and a cassette of her beloved singer Mohammed Mounir send her on a journey to rediscover her past and her relationship with her estranged stepfather. In Arabic w/English subtitles

Post-screening panel discussion with filmmaker Hala Khalil and Mona Eltahawy (Arabic Women’s eNews)

Saturday, November 6, 6 PM

An evening with renowned Lebanese film director and photographer Fouad Elkoury

Fouad Elkoury gained international recognition for his powerful photos of war-torn Beirut and landscape photography. In recent years, he has turned his lens to cinema. Join us for an evening showcasing his work.

U.S. Premiere
Jours tranquilles en Palestine directed by Sylvain Roumette and written by Fouad Elkoury (France, 1998, 13 min, Beta SP)
This film tells an often forgotten story of Palestine: that of a pre-Israeli society happily living on its land. Using old photographs found by the Arab Image Foundation and the voices of five women born in Palestine before 1948, the film recalls ordinary moments of life before the current history of violence and suffering. In French w/English subtitles

U.S. Premiere
Letters to Francine by Fouad Elkoury (France, 2002, 43 min, Beta SP)
Through the filmmaker’s email correspondence with his friend Francine and a two-year project photographing Turkey, this film uses a rich layering of sound and image to draw intimate contrasts between the way the photographer sees a landscape but cannot see his own body and illness. In French w/English subtitles

U.S. Premiere
Moving Out by Fouad Elkoury (France, 2004, 26 min, Beta SP)
A woman and her two children move out, leaving her husband alone in their home. As the film follows two days of packing and moving, it reveals a history of tension and lovelessness. In French w/English subtitles

Post-screening panel discussion with filmmaker and photographer Fouad Elkoury and Walid Raed (Cooper Union)

Saturday, November 20, 6 PM
Deep Breath by Parviz Shahbazi (Iran, 2003, 82 min, 35 mm)
In a rare cinematic vision of young urban Iran this sophisticated portrait of alienated youth (more than the title is a nod to Godard's Breathless), Kamran and Mansour spend their time "vagabonding" through Tehran, snatching cell phones, stealing cars, and driving aimlessly. After picking up a hitchhiker, a chatty student named Ayda, one man is consumed by the hope she gives him, the other yields to his overwhelming despair. Wry and bittersweet, Deep Breath is. In Farsi w/English subtitles

Post-screening panel discussion with Shouleh Vatanabadi (NYU) and Godfrey Cheshire (Film Critic, NYC)

Saturday, December 4, 6 PM

New York Premiere
The Magic Box by Ridha Behi (Tunisia, 2002, 88 min, 35 mm)
Raouf is haunted by dreams that point to a failing marriage. For solace, he immerses himself in his current project, a film that transports him back to his youth in the small town of Kairouan where he grew up in fear of his strict traditionalist father, and in awe of his dashing uncle, a traveling movie projectionist whose influence led to a lifelong love of cinema. Compared by some critics to Cinema Paradiso, this beautifully shot film provides a window into the complexities of life in the Maghreb. In French and Arabic w/English subtitles

Preceded by

New York Premiere
How Beautiful is the Sea by Sabine El Chamaa (Lebanon, 2003, 10 min, Beta SP)
After an apocalyptic explosion, a woman ventures into the streets and finds herself by the sea. There she meets a man who, much like her, wears a protective uniform. Incapable of sensing nature, or one another, they ponder the possibility of shedding their uniforms. In Arabic w/English subtitles

Introductory remarks by H.E. Mr. Hatem Atallah, Ambassador of Tunisia to the United States

Post-screening panel discussion with filmmakers Ridha Behi and Sabine El Chamaa and Joshua Schreier (Vassar College)

* * * * *

Cinema East is a collaborative project of ArteEast, Inc., and the Department of Middle East Studies at NYU. This program is supported by the Egyptian-American Professional Society/EAPS; Arabic Women’s eNews; the Kevorkian Center, NYU; the Film Department, NYU; the Middle East Institute of Columbia University and Egypt Air. It is funded in part by People Helping People Help Themselves and the New York Council for the Humanities, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Additional support is provided by the Egyptian Consulate, NYC; the Tunisian Embassy, Washington DC; Near East Foundation; Moon and Stars Project Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality, NYU, and Print Icon.

* * * * *
ArteEast is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization established in 2003 by a group of film programmers, filmmakers, artists and educators to promote the visibility of the arts and cultures of the Middle East in the United States through collaborative projects with Universities, community groups, museums and cultural institutions. It supports the production and presentation of artistic work pertaining to the Middle East in various media, including, but not limited to, art, music, theater, and film with a unique multicultural approach to covering a wide spectrum of Middle Eastern artists and viewpoints. Please visit our website at for more information about the organization and our programs.

==================================ArteEast, Inc.490 Third Street, #2Brooklyn, NY 11215

Phone/Fax: 718.832.6564Email: info@arteeast.orgWeb:

PR JERUSALEM: Israeli delays at checkpoints cause more deaths 8-23-04

PRCS Weekly Press Release for the period 14 - 20 August 2004

During this reporting period, the Israeli Army has continued to violate International Humanitarian Law and Fundamental Human Rights, by restricting freedom of movement to Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) ambulances and its medical teams. Delays, denial of access and arbitrary searches had a negative impact on the sick and wounded in Nablus, Al Bireh, Qalqiliya, Salfit, Al Ezariyeh and Gaza.

Al Ezariyeh, 20/8/2004 (17:00 PM): Israeli Soldiers Cause Extensive Damage to PRCS Ambulance at the Al Ezariyeh entrance while on route from Ramallah city to PRCS’ Al Ezariyeh Emergency Medical Services Station in Jerusalem. For more information, see Press Release:

Salfit, 17/08/2004 (23:30 PM): A PRCS ambulance was stopped by Israeli soldiers while on route to Kufr Ein village to evacuate injuries caused by explosion of unknown origin. The soldiers ordered the crew to turn off the engine and to get out of the ambulance. They also confiscated the ambulance’s communication equipment. The ambulance was delayed for nearly three and a half hours, before allowing it to pass.

In addition to the above, the following table lists incidents of delay and denial of access during this reporting period.

PRCS Branch Date Checkpoint Delay of access
(unless indicated
'denied access')
Al Bireh 18/8/2004 Hizma 210 minutes
Nablus 17/8/2004 Near Ajaj mosque Denied access
16/8/2004 Al Muntazah Street 120 minutes
19/8/2004 Faysal Street 45 minutes
Qalqiliya 15/8/2004 Azzun gate 25 minutes
15/8/2004 Azzun gate 30 minutes
Gaza 15/8/2004 Al Tufah 160 minutes
14/8/2004 Al Tufah 60 minutes

During this reporting period, a total of 17 deaths and 74 injuries were reported in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

These practices constitute a breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the First Additional Protocol of the Geneva conventions, which are legally applied to the occupied Palestinian territories. In particular, they violate articles 20 of the Fourth Geneva Convention which guarantees the protection and respect of persons who engage in the search for, removal and transport of and caring for wounded and sick civilians, and article 63 which stresses that ” Subject to temporary and exceptional measures imposed for urgent reasons of security by the Occupied Power, recognized National red cross and red crescent societies shall be able to pursue their activities in accordance with Red Cross principles, as defined by the international Red Cross Conferences…”. In addition to articles 12 and 15 of the First Additional Protocol of the Geneva conventions which guarantees that “ Medical units shall be respected and protected at all times and shall not be the object of attack and shall have access to any place where their services are essential” and article 16 which stresses that, “Under no circumstances shall any person be punished for carrying out medical activities compatible with medical ethics, regardless of the person benefiting there from.”, in addition to article 21, which stresses that,” Medical vehicles shall be respected and protected in the same way as mobile medical units under the Conventions and this Protocol.”

For full text see:

For more information please contact Press Office at: phone: +972 2 240 6515/6/7E-

PR NAZARETH: Update, Israelis mistreat Palestinian prisoners 8-23-04

"Let Them Starve to Death"
Official Reactions to the Hunger Strike of Security Prisoners Reveal that Israel’s Security Needs Clash with the Palestinians’ Right to Life

(NAZARETH) On Sunday, August 15, 2004, the Palestinian prisoners kept inside the Green Line started a hunger strike in protest of the living conditions inside Israeli jails. They were joined by the 120 political prisoners who are citizens of Israel. Testimonies of prisoners and reports from lawyers and human-rights groups reveal shocking accounts of physical and psychological torture, which appear to be part of a systematic policy rather than exceptions due to individual misconduct. The prisoners’ daily routine is dominated by medical negligence, unsanitary conditions, beatings, position torture, sleep deprivation, strip searches and the denial of contact with family members and friends. The inhumane conditions of Israel’s prisons are reflected in the demands the Palestinian detainees put forward as a condition to end their hunger strike.

In the company of the international community, Israel is generally recognised as the only functioning democracy in the Middle East, and often, the attribute "Western-style" is added to Israel’s system of governance. Notwithstanding the polarising nature of this definition, the term is commonly associated with a participatory political system based on equality and the rule of law. This entails, inter alia, the absence of political prisoners in the country’s jails, categorical rejection of torture as a means of interrogation and a political discourse that refrains from hate speech.

According to the U.S. Department of State Human Rights Country Report on Israel and the Occupied Territories 2003, "there were no reports of political prisoners." This is due to the fact that Israel has developed a special terminology for persons imprisoned for their political views: within the larger framework of the war on terror and Israel’s definition of homeland security, thousands of Palestinians are being held as "security prisoners". If one takes a look at the country’s "security prisons", a different picture unfolds: reports from human-rights organisations record that since the beginning of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories in 1967, over 650,000 Palestinians have been detained by Israel. This corresponds to a total of approximately 40% of the male Palestinian population of the Occupied Territories; the number of female political prisoners is currently at 120. As of August 2004, approximately 7,500 Palestinian political prisoners are being held in Israeli prisons, military detention camps, interrogation centres and regular police stations. One in ten "security prisoners" is an administrative detainee, without being put on trial or even charged with an offence. 380 prisoners are below the age of 18, 78 of whom are 16 years and younger. More than 3,800 Palestinian "security prisoners" are detained in civil prisons or holding centres operated by the Israeli Prisons Service (IPS). All of these facilities are situated inside the 1948 borders. This in itself constitutes a breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which provides in Article 47 that "protected persons accused of offences shall be detained in the occupied country, and if convicted, they shall serve their sentences therein".

The Prisoners’ Demands as they are backed up by International Law:

In keeping with a policy of portraying the demands of the prisoners for improved conditions as requests that are opposed to prison order and the security of Israel, the Prisons Service and Israeli officials focus in their public responses to the hunger strike on only a few selected demands. Those are cited without any background information or reference to the conditions that gave rise to the petitions. The prominent demands named in the Israeli and international media as being prerequisite for an end to the strike are for an end to daily strip searches, the removal of the glass partitions separating prisoners from visitors including their own children, and public pay phones for prisoners. Identifying these, Public Security Minister Tzachi Hanegbi said that "giving in to any of the prisoners’ demands would make it easier for terrorists to plan and orchestrate terror attacks from inside the prisons" (indirect quote from Haaretz).
A closer look at the set of demands presented to the Israeli Prisons Service by the prisoners and an open letter from the Committee for the Families of Political Prisoners and Detainees in the West Bank reveals a much wider range of demands, the reasons behind them, and a starker picture of the poor conditions in the prisons. Moreover, the demands made by the prisoners are sanctioned by international law, through guiding principles and in many cases explicit regulations. These can be found in the following human-rights instruments and treaties:

Geneva Convention (IV) relative
to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
Convention against Torture and Other Cruel,
Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)
Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners
Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

This means that the striking prisoners are demanding rights that they are legally entitled to and the deprivation of which amounts to serious abuse and a pattern of grave human-rights violations.

The United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which was ratified by Israel on the 3rd of October 1991, reinforces the demands to allow prisoners to send out diaries, poems, studies, prose, etc, during visits; to allow prisoners to prepare their own food according to their customs and religion; and not to interfere with prayers or preaching or to punish preachers for what they preach by defending their rights to the freedoms expression and religion.

The Convention also states in Article 10 that "all persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person." Yet the prisoners complain that they and their visitors are forced to undergo degrading and compromising strip searches. The prisoners suggest limiting the number of searches that a prisoner must go through each day/year and carrying out the searches using an electronic device rather that gloved hands as alternatives to the current, unacceptable situation.
The United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment, to which Israel is also a party, defines "torture" as any act that inflicts severe mental or physical pain or suffering on a person in order to, among other intentions, punish that person for an act s/he or a third person committed or is suspected of committing. Several of the prisoners’ complaints decry practices that would fall within this definition. For example, the prisoners and their families are asking for an end to arbitrary revocation of visitation rights and extended confinement to cells as punishment for minor infractions such as singing or speaking too loudly and to subjecting prisoners to solitary confinement for excessive periods of time, meaning months or even years. This Convention also addresses the prisoners’ call for an end to all forms of collective punishment.

A third human-rights instrument, which reaffirms in detail many of the petitions of the striking prisoners, is the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, which was issued by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), an intergovernmental body that operates under the authority of the United Nations General Assembly. The rules included in this document reflect general international consensus and set requirements on such points as minimum floor space, ventilation, light, access to washing facilities and toilets, basic hygiene supplies, beds, libraries and up-to-date periodicals, that handcuffs be removed when prisoners meet with administrators, and that women prisoners be attended and supervised only by women officers, all of which are included in the prisoners’ set of demands.

Of primary concern to the prisoners and their families are regular and unhindered visits. The Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners require that special attention be paid to the maintenance and improvement of such relations between a prisoner and his family as are desirable in the best interest of both and also that prisoners be allowed under necessary supervision to communicate with their family and reputable friends at regular intervals, both by correspondence and by receiving visits. Contrary to these standards, Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli prisons complain that siblings and third level family members are not allowed to visit them, that immediate family members are forced to go through long humiliating ordeals at checkpoints and prison security screenings on their way to visit the prisoners, and that a glass barrier and metal grates prevent them from having close contact with their children and other visitors and often impede communication between them. For this reason, the prisoners are requesting public phones, subject to monitoring, in either their cell blocks or the yards so that they can communicate with family members.

It should also be noted that the illegal internment of Palestinian prisoners from the Occupied Territories within the borders of Israel, which as mentioned previously violates the
Geneva Convention (IV) relative to the
Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, contributes to this situation. Relatives wishing to visit the prisoners are barred from doing so by restrictions on movement between the Occupied Territories and Israel, the often arbitrary whims of checkpoint personnel, and the separation wall. Backed up by the Fourth Geneva Convention, the prisoners are demanding that they be relocated to facilities closer to their homes.

A fifth treaty that applies to the situation of Palestinian prisoners, which has received near universal ratification, is the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. According to the Kafkaesque Military Order 1500 put in place during the British Mandate period, children in the Occupied Territories ages 12 and older can be tried in military courts, and a child over the age of 16 is considered an adult, in violation of Article 1 of the Convention which stipulates that "a child means every human being below the age of eighteen years." It must be noted that Israel keeps to the internationally recognized definition of a child among its own citizens but applies a different standard to Palestinian minors in the Occupied Territories. In practice, a child from the West Bank or Gaza can be sentenced to six months in prison for throwing a stone. Additionally, minors are often held together with adults and criminal offenders, a practice that their families strongly protest and that is forbidden by numerous international regulations including those found in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Other major goals of the hunger strike are to end arbitrary and indiscriminate beatings and the firing of teargas into cells and to gain access to proper medical care including necessary surgical operations and equipment for measuring blood sugar levels and blood pressure. In discounting the petitions of the prisoners and arguing that giving in to their demands, which include contact with spouses and children, beds to sleep on, and even toothpaste, would make it easier for them to organise terror attacks, Minister Hanegbi and other official persons and bodies are appealing to the catchword of security in an attempt to shirk their responsibilities and obligations under international human-rights law.

Our Invitation for Cooperation with the International Community:

Israel’s political establishment ignores the humanitarian and human-rights dimensions involved by dismissing the hunger strike as a security matter and the prisoners themselves as security threats. Minister Hanegbi made this attitude more than clear by noting that he would rather have the Palestinian prisoners "starve to death" than to give in to their demands. Even more worrying is the fact that prison officials have taken concrete steps to oblige the Public Security Minister by confiscating the salt that prisoners had stowed away to prevent themselves from becoming dehydrated during the strike. Other "strike breaking" measures under way are restrictions on the sales of sweets and cigarettes and efforts to whet the prisoners’ appetites by grilling meat and baking bread outside their cells.

For the time being, Minister Hanegbi’s comment is the last in a series of remarks by Israeli intellectuals and government officials that point towards the idea that the very existence of the Palestinian people poses a security threat to Israel. In May 2004, the Arab Association for Human Rights (HRA) published "Let Them Suffocate", a report on excessive police violence during house demolitions in the Galilee (Israel). The title of the publication quotes the words of a policeman, referring to Arab children in a kindergarten where tear gas had filtered in. The HRA is deeply concerned about the fact that hate speech by state officials, which constitutes a death wish to a person or members of a group, is not challenged by the Israeli general public but rather acknowledged with approving silence.

The state of Israel is in severe neglect of its duties as a declared democracy, and the treatment of Palestinian prisoners is an appalling manifestation of this negligence. Specifically, the resolution of Minister Hanegbi, to let the prisoners starve to death rather than comply with their demands for more humanitarian treatment, clashes with his mandate as Minister of Public Security to protect the rights to life, dignity, and security of person of all those under his charge. The Arab Association for Human Rights expresses its solidarity with the Palestinian political prisoners – both from inside the Green Line and from the Occupied Territories – and supports the humanitarian demands put forward by the detainees. We further call upon the members of the international community to take these grave human-rights violations into account in their diplomatic relations with Israel.

For our community, the Arab minority inside Israel, it is of critical importance to make human-rights concepts tangible and to show that international norms are actually being applied in people’s everyday lives. To this end, the HRA would be pleased to cooperate with members of the international community to endeavour to translate formal commitments in this area into actual implementation by contributing our research and advocacy expertise in human-rights issues concerning our constituency as well as by providing first-hand information on topics related to our work. We would also like to extend an invitation for all those in the area to join the HRA in a solidarity hunger strike on Wednesday August 25, from 9:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the protest tent next to Mary’s Well in Nazareth.

For further information, please contact us directly:
Muhammad Zeidan, Director
Arab Association for Human Rights (HRA)
PO Box 215, Nazareth 16101, Israel
telephone: +972 (0)4 6561923
fax: +972 (0)4 6564934

Sunday, August 22, 2004

PR CHICAGO: New CD Looks back at Sept. 11 backlash 8-22-04


From:Anya CordellThe Campaign for Collateral Compassion

An audio documentary is now available on CD, detailingthe hate-backlash aftermath of September 11, from auniquely compelling personal perspective. It isnarrated by Anya Cordell, entitled: IN SEARCH OF COLLATERAL COMPASSION; AN UNTOLD SEPTEMBER 11TH STORY

The audio essay chronicles the narrator/producer’sunusual quest. The narrator, a Jewish woman, knew none of the victims personally. Yet, she became consumed with relieving the plight of the families of the men who were murdered by self-avowed ‘patriots’, in irrational revenge for the September 11th attacks.

She tells of becoming deeply entwined with thefamilies of Sikh and Hindu victims. She does battlewith charity administrators and reveals shockinglyoutrageous comments by Congressional Representatives,Second Lady Lynn Cheney, and others. The essay provides a host of information, notgenerally reported by the media and arouses interestin this issue in a surprisingly effective way.

The story leads listeners to discover their ownrighteous indignation and passion around this topic. Young people, in particular, who have been brought up in our culture that puts such great emphasis on appearance, find this CD truly impactful. One listener wrote: "It really is a remarkable work and I felt rather transformed by the end."

The thirty minute CD is singularly valuable for presentations, educational purposes, workshops, etc., to introduce this relatively unknown aspect of the9/11 tragedy. Poignant musical fragments add to itsimpact.

Anya Cordell founded the Campaign For CollateralCompassion, on behalf of the victims of the hate-backlash aftermath of 9/11. Her post 9/11 work hasbeen featured on the front page of THE WASHINGTON POST, in USA TODAY, THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS, SOMEONEYOU SHOULD KNOW (ABC-Chicago), and elsewhere.

To order the CD: Send check for $8, payable to Anya Cordell

Mail to: Anya Cordell
Campaign for Collateral Compassion
9447 Hamlin Ave.
Evanston, IL 60203

Direct questions and inquiries to:
Please share this email with, or forward it to anyonewho may find it of interest.

PR PALESTINE: Red Crescent Ambulances damaged by Israel 8-22-04

Israeli Soldiers Cause Extensive Damage to PRCS Ambulance

Al Ezariyeh (Jerusalem), 20/8/2004 (17:00 PM): A PRCS ambulance was stopped by Israeli soldiers at the Al Ezariyeh entrance while on route from Ramallah city to PRCS’ Al Ezariyeh Emergency Medical Services Station in Jerusalem. The soldiers confiscated the crews’ communication equipment and called an explosives expert to search the ambulance. The crew was ordered to open the wooden box which holds the rear ambulance seat to the floor. Although the crew explained that the box can not be opened, the soldiers started breaking the wooden box and the medical supply cabinets and medical equipment causing extensive damage to the ambulance’s entire cabin. The ambulance was delayed for nearly an hour before it was finally allowed to pass.

These practices constitute a breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the First Additional Protocol of the Geneva conventions, which are legally applied to the occupied Palestinian territories. In particular, they violate article 63 of the Fourth Geneva Convention which stresses that ” Subject to temporary and exceptional measures imposed for urgent reasons of security by the Occupied Power, recognized National red cross and red crescent societies shall be able to pursue their activities in accordance with Red Cross principles, as defined by the international Red Cross Conferences…”.

In addition to article 21 of the First Additional Protocol of the Geneva conventions, which stresses that,” Medical vehicles shall be respected and protected in the same way as mobile medical units under the Conventions and this Protocol.”

For full text see:

For more information please contact Press Office at: phone: +972 2 240 6515/6/7

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

PR (ELK GROVE, IL): Islam-Christianity debated 8-17-04

August 18, 2004
Christianity and Islam "Debated" at Elk Grove Baptist

The Muslim perspective on Christianity will be debated in unique presentations by missionary Chris Little during worship services at Elk Grove Baptist Church on Sunday, Aug. 29.

Little will essentially debate with himself by portraying the Islamic view through of Christianity through the eyes of a Muslim imam, then countering those comments through the eyes of a Christian minister. Little, who has performed this program throughout the country, will present his debate at both the 9:30 and 11 a.m..

Then at 6 o’clock that evening, Little will speak about Jordan Evangelical Theological Seminary (JETS), a ministry located in Amman, Jordan devoted to equipping church leaders to serve many Middle Eastern countries. JETS has 135 students from Syria, Israel, Jordan and Iraq, and has invited Little to join its faculty.

While Little, who holds a Ph.D. in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Seminary, is a missionary sponsored through the Baptist General Conference (headquartered in Arlington Heights, IL), JETS is a multi-denominational ministry, jointly supported by Baptist, Christian & Missionary Alliance, Free Evangelical, Assemblies of God and Nazarene churches.

Their passion, Little says, is “to assist Arab-Christians in de-Westernizing Christianity so the gospel can move forward in a more culturally-relevant manner in that part of the world.”Cultural relevance is among the reasons Little will be at Elk Grove, which has also invited congregations from Cumberland, Rolling Meadows, Schaumburg and the Filipino Baptist Church of Elk Grove to attend.

Elk Grove Baptist Church is located at 801 Beisner Road, ½ block North of Alexian Brothers Hospital. Dr. Gregory S. Gertz is senior pastor. For information or directions, call 847-593-8337, or visit

Further information: Mike Myers, Elk Grove Baptist Church, 630-267-1612
Chris Little, 818-913-5078 (cell); ..

PR (PALESTINE): Palestinian prisoners' rights demanded 8-17-04

Demands of the Palestinian Prisoners and Detainees are Legal and Human

For Immediate Release

The Palestinian National Committee for International Humanitarian Law (PNCIHL) expresses its deep concern for the deteriorating prison conditions of approximately (7,500) Palestinian and Arab prisoners and detainees. These conditions represent gross violations to the rules of International Humanitarian Law (IHL), most importantly, 4th Geneva Convention of 1949 relative to the protection of civilians in time of war, which legally applies on the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

The PNCIHL, after examining the demands of the Palestinian prisoners and detainees, reiterates that these demands are legal, humane and just in accordance with IHL, which provides a wide range of protection and rights for prisoners and detainees, including:

Fair judicial guarantees.
Prohibition of torture, cruel treatment and all forms of humiliating and degrading treatment.
Internment in buildings which afford every possible safeguard as regards hygiene and health
Sufficient food in quality, quantity and variety to keep internees in a good state of health.
Practicing intellectual, educational, recreational pursuits, sports and games.
Continuing their studies or academic enrollment.
Receiving visitors, especially near relatives, at regular intervals and as frequently as possible.

Subsequent to the three days of open hunger strike of more than (1,700) prisoners, and in view of the assurances provided by the prisoners regarding the expansion of the scope of the strike to let in the whole prisoners, the PNCIHL expects the Israeli Occupation Forces to assume responsibility of strikers’ safety, and calls upon responding to their legal and human demands, and avoid using violence against them.

The PNCIHL urges the international and humanitarian bodies and all human rights organizations worldwide to intervene to improve detention conditions, as well as demand all High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 to meet their legal and moral obligations, and undertake all necessary measures to oblige Israel to comply with the principles and rules of IHL regarding the treatment of prisoners and detainees.


Monday, August 16, 2004

PR (AL_BIREH PALESTINE): Israelis delay civilian movements 8-16-04

PRCS Weekly Press Release for the period
7-13 August 2004

During this reporting period, the Israeli Army has continued to violate International Humanitarian Law and Fundamental Human Rights, by restricting freedom of movement to Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) ambulances and its medical teams. Delays, denial of access and arbitrary searches had a negative impact on the sick and wounded in Nablus, Hebron, Al-Bireh and Jenin.

Nablus, 10/8/2004 (09:00 AM): A PRCS medic was injured while on route to transport injuries to hospital during an Israeli Army incursion into the Old city of Nablus. For further information go to:

Hebron, 10/08/2004 (09:45 AM): A PRCS ambulance was stopped and denied access by Israeli soldiers at the ‘Tunnels’ checkpoint, while on route to Jerusalem to transport sick cases to hospital. Instantly, the soldiers began to shout verbal abuses at the crew and ordered the ambulance to return back, claiming that the sick did not have permits to enter Jerusalem. Moreover, the Israeli soldiers confiscated the ambulance driver’s identity card and detained him for two hours at the Gush Etzion police station.

In addition to the above, the following table lists incidents of delay and denial of access during this reporting period.

PRCS Branch Date Checkpoint Delay of access
(unless indicated 'denied access')
Al Bireh 8/8/2004 Beit El 40 minutes
11/8/2004 Al Ram Junction 195 minutes
11/8/2004 Beit El 40 minutes
11/8/2004 Beit El 30 minutes
12/8/2004 Zayy’im Denied access
Jenin 12/8/2004 Arraba Junction 20 minutes & denied access

The following incident was also documented during this reporting period:

Hebron, 7/8/2004 (08:30 AM): A PRCS mobile health clinic was stopped at the ‘Container’ ( Wadi Al Nar) checkpoint, while on route to Ramallah from Hebron. Israeli soldiers took the crew’s identity cards for checking. Then, two of the soldiers with their weapons got into the mobile clinic and ordered the driver to continue on his way. Although the crew tried to explain to the soldiers that such action is prohibited, the soldiers ignored them and ordered the driver to drive. The mobile clinic continued for 250 meters before the soldiers ordered the driver to stop. The two soldiers got out of the mobile clinic and allowed it to pass.

These practices constitute a breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the First Additional Protocol of the Geneva conventions, which are legally applied to the occupied Palestinian territories. In particular, they violate articles 20 of the Fourth Geneva Convention which guarantees the protection and respect of persons who engage in the search for, removal and transport of and caring for wounded and sick civilians, and article 63 which stresses that ” Subject to temporary and exceptional measures imposed for urgent reasons of security by the Occupied Power, recognized National red cross and red crescent societies shall be able to pursue their activities in accordance with Red Cross principles, as defined by the international Red Cross Conferences…”. In addition to articles 12 and 15 of the First Additional Protocol of the Geneva conventions which guarantees that “ Medical units shall be respected and protected at all times and shall not be the object of attack and shall have access to any place where their services are essential” and article 16 which stresses that, “Under no circumstances shall any person be punished for carrying out medical activities compatible with medical ethics, regardless of the person benefiting there from.”, in addition to article 21, which stresses that,” Medical vehicles shall be respected and protected in the same way as mobile medical units under the Conventions and this Protocol.”

For full text see:

During this reporting period, a total of 6 deaths and 65 injuries were reported in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

**************************************************For more information please contact Press Office at: Phone: +972 2 240 6515/6/7E-mail:

Friday, August 13, 2004

FEATURE (WEST BANK): Summer Work Camp foster Palestine-Israel understanding 8-13-04

DAY 4 Sampler

Beit Arabiya Summer Work Camp 2 In the morning the participants of the Summer Work Camp heartily walked up the hill from Beit Arabiya to continue the rebuilding of the Kabu'ah's home. Cement was poured on the second floor and needed drying, so we went to an informative critical tour of the settlements and the wall around Jerusalem.

The tour had to change the planned rout due to the explosion south of the Qalandiyah checkpoint at the northern entrance to Jerusalem that killed two Palestinian bystanders and injured another 18 people. As the participants were out on the tour, the IDF entered Anata. Luckily the workers were not at the building site.

The army jeeps entered the area, stopped on the hill overlooking Beit Arabiya and turned round.During the tour we visited the biggest settlement in the West Bank, Male Adomim, an insulated Jewish neighborhood were people are not ideological about the place they live.

We also saw in Abu Dis very clearly how the wall is separating Palestinians from Palestinians radically affecting their lives and livelihood.In the evening we saw the stirring yet in some contexts dangerous film by Juliano Mer Khamis and Danniel Danniel: "Arna's Children."

It is always difficult to see the other side of a coin, and more so in the middle of fighting, when pain, anger and hatred rule. This film presented us with a rare opportunity to get a fuller and more realistic picture of the Palestinian Intifada. The discussion afterwards kept the participant's attention until very late at night. Juliano answered questions from internationals, Israeli's and Palestinians. His charisma, integrity and talent are commendable.

For more information contact:
Lucia Pizarro
International CoordinatorIsraeli Committee Against House DemolitionsPO Box 2030, 91020 Jerusalem, Israel
Tel: 972-(0)2-624-5560 Fax: 972-(0)2-622-1530 Mobile972-(0)547704307

Thursday, August 12, 2004

PR (RAFAH, PALESTINE): Israeli troops fire on Palestinian medical team 8-12-04

Rafah: Israeli occupation forces attack PMRS emergency response staff

Thursday 12th August 2004
PMRS condemns Tuesday's attack against PMRS ambulance staff whilst theydistributed first aid kits to residents of Rafah.Thanks to the generous support provided by the German Foreign Office andin cooperation with Medico International, in response to an emergencyappeal released by PMRS following the Israeli demolition of 200 homes inRafah in May 2004, PMRS has begun to distribute first aid kits to thehomeless residents of Rafah. Whilst ambulance staff, including 5 doctors, 2 nurses and the driver,distributed the first aid kits in the Tal al Sultan neighborhood,Israeli forces started firing at the ambulance.

According to the staff,firing came from the "Rafih Yam" settlements towers. They at firstthought that it was random shooting however; when some bullets were only50 cm away they realized that this was in fact intentional. All staffwere wearing PMRS vests which clearly indicated that they were medicalpersonnel. Fortunately there were no injuries.

Once again the Israeli forces have attempted to prevent medical teamsfrom carrying out their essential humanitarian work. This time, notcontent with causing the complete devastation that now exists in Rafah,the soldiers have also tried to stop the provision of aid to the area. PMRS asks all humanitarian, human rights and health organizations toprotest these recent actions and pressurize the Israeli occupationforces to allow the free movement of medical teams.

Letters can bewritten to:Menachem Mazuz, Attorney-General Ministry of Justice 9 Salah al-Din Street Jerusalem 91010, Israel Fax: +972 2 6285438
Tommy Lapid - Minister of Justice29 Salah al-Din StreetJerusalem 91010IsraelTel: +972 2 6708511Fax: +972 2 6285438E-mail:
For further information please contact: pmrsupdates@yahoo.com

PR (WASHINGTON DC); ADC names new communications director 8-12-04

ADC Press Release

ADC Announces Laila Al-Qatami as Communications Director
Thanks Hussein Ibish

(Washington, DC, August 12) —The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is pleased to announce Laila Al-Qatami as ADC Communications Director.

ADC President Mary Rose Oakar said, “I have been working with Laila since I assumed the Presidency of ADC more than one year ago, and she has proven to be an invaluable part of the ADC team. Since Laila joined the ADC staff in October 2000, she has been involved in all facets of ADC’s communications work and has proven to be enormously skillful. I know that she will continue to be integral to ADC in her new position. I would also like to thank Hussein Ibish for his commitment and dedication to ADC.”

Outgoing ADC Communications Director Hussein Ibish added, “Laila Al-Qatami is exceptionally well-qualified for this position, and I know she will be a fantastic Communications Director. It has been an honor and a pleasure working with her over the past few years, and I am deeply grateful for all that we have been able to accomplish together. She has my thanks and my enthusiastic support. I am gratified to know that the organization’s all-important communications work will be in such good and capable hands.”

ADC Communications Director Laila Al-Qatami said, “It has been a privilege for me to be a part of everything ADC has achieved over the years. I realize that there is no replacement for Hussein Ibish and am truly thankful for all I have learned from him. Although he may be leaving ADC, I will continue to count on his counsel in my new capacity.”

You can reach Laila at 202-244-2990 or

ADC: 25 Years of Dedicated Service to Civil and Human Rights1980 - 2005
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)4201 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 300 Washington, DC 20008tel: (202) 244-2990, fax: (202)

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

BOOK REVIEW (AL-BIREH) The Myth of Palestinian Development 8-11-04

BOOK REVIEW: The Myth of Palestinian Development
"The Myth of Palestinian Development" by Khalil Nakhleh.
(Palestine: April 2004. 223 pp. (English). Arabic version published by
Reviewed by Sam Bahour *

The issue of Palestinian development has been in the limelight for sometime now. For over a decade, billions of taxpayer dollars from countries around the globe have been flooding into one of the smallest yet-to-be countries, the Palestinian Authority (PA). In year 2004, the Palestinian people have become the largest per capita recipient of foreign aid in the world. Yet, Palestine is not only unable to move forward in its development process toward statehood, but rather, any achievements that have been made thus far are being unraveled while donor funds continue to flow unabated. As Dr. Khalil Nakhleh illustrates in The Myth of Palestinian Development, this process of "de-developing" Palestine is not haphazard or a strike of bad fate, but rather an externally planned systematic approach to the Palestinian reality that Palestinians must reverse.

The Myth of Palestinian Development, as stated by the author, "is not an attempt to find a 'magical' recipe for how things should be done in order to ensure the 'desired' development of Palestinian society." Dr. Nakhleh rightly believes that, "no such thing ['magical' recipe] is possible. Anyone who claims the contrary is, in the best situation, unaware and unappreciative of the complexities of the 'development' process, and, in the worst, part of a premeditated process of deceit generated by a chorus of development 'agents provocateurs' to maximize self-benefits."

From the book's subtitle, which is "Political Aid and Sustainable Deceit," and throughout, the reader is forced to think deeper than the superficial headlines of today's media coverage of Palestine. Dr. Nakhleh puts the context of the Palestinian struggle for freedom and independence into today's world of "globalization and trans- nationalization," something few Palestinian analysts address. He states, "If the function of the nation-state is being redefined in the context of globalization, then the entire concept of national sovereignty and national interests needs rethinking." Taking such a step back from the day to day atrocities in Palestine is crucial if Palestinians are to be able to position themselves in a way to actually realize the fruits of their struggle.

Soberly linking today's world dynamics with current Palestinian development toward statehood, Dr. Nakhleh states that "Stability in the region, the creation of conducive conditions for globalized production, and the mobility of transnational capital are the primary objectives and concern of the interventions, not genuine Palestinian development." After a critical reading of the book and internalizing it with my own personal experience in the Palestinian struggle during the period being covered, 1984 - 2001, I can attest that Dr. Nakhleh spectacularly reveals the inner workings of an entire donor industry that has been built around the catastrophic predicament of the Palestinian people -- an industry that is sustained by the so-called 'peace process' and previously by the so-called 'revolution.'

The Myth of Palestinian Development is a focused biography that takes a deep and serious look into how two funding agencies, in particular, and the entire donor community in general, including pre-Oslo Palestinian and Arab donors, view and act toward Palestinian development. The book takes a unique approach by surveying the Palestinian development process (the 'de-development' process as Dr. Nakhleh would call it) through his own work experience with the two most significant developmental agencies of the pre and post-Oslo periods, The Welfare Association (1984-1992) and the European Commission (1993-2001).

The Welfare Association, a Swiss-registered non-profit organization, established in 1983, was the first serious attempt by a few wealthy Palestinians to positively affect Palestinian development. Dr. Nakhleh takes the reader through the maze of the fund's alliances -- largely governmental linked -- and provides samples of various interventions and how those interventions jerked from developmental-based to emergency-based during the first intifada.
Unfortunately, Dr. Nakhleh believes, and I tend to agree, that the Palestinian capitalists' "tendency to push towards becoming more 'mainstream responsive' and much less 'developmental' left the real work of developing Palestine based on future needs in total disarray. The author gives a sample of development under Israeli occupation during the 1980s and describes the complexities of financially supporting Palestinians during the first intifada while the Israeli military was fully tracking where interventions were being made and by whom. Currently living in the occupied territories myself, I feel that remembering the lessons of the 1980s now is well-timed since Palestine seems to be heading into another era of clandestine development prior to statehood.

Reviewing how the first Gulf War shook the region and in particular the Palestinian mode of operation, Dr. Nakhleh boldly addresses the Welfare Association's board - some of the most wealthiest Palestinians in the world - as utilizing their 'privileged communications channels' to move the development process from an institutional and need-based intervention to a personalized practical approach that favored appeasing the powers-to-be which made the Association loose its core potential to affect its declared goals of true national development.
During the post-Oslo period, a flurry of donor pledges, commitments, and disbursements (three very different items, as one will learn from this book) were made by the world community who took upon themselves to intervene on behalf of Palestinian development. Again, through the author's personal, hands-on experience with the largest donor to Palestine, the European Union (EU), he meticulously depicts how this global strategy of intervention failed to develop Palestine, and even worse, how it is "de-developing' Palestine.

As stated by the EU, the "political input and economic contribution has been the determining element for the survival of the Palestinian Authority," Dr. Nakhleh asks, "Is it, for example, the type of 'survival' that the EC [European Commission] aid offers that hooks entire PA institutions to a 'life sustaining machine,' which manages to inject intravenously small, yet steady doses of cash to keep the entire public sector afloat?"

Dr. Nakhleh provides noteworthy insight into the people by which the international donor community provides its intervention into Palestinian development; he calls them the "New Mercenaries." "The New Mercenaries are a rapidly emerging category of global professional hustlers, who compete via the international media to sell their 'expertise' and 'experience' to the highest bidder...They roam about unhindered by national boundaries or limitations...The New Mercenaries are the 'nomads' of globalized economies and societies, and the ubiquitous hallmark of development projects. They are transient; only a few of them experience the repetition of seasons in the same place. Thus, they rarely see the results of their work." Anyone visiting Palestine these days will find these international consultants - - "New Mercenaries" - in every aspect of Palestinian life -- politics, security, economy, education, etc. - all holding VIP cards and freely passing through Israeli military checkpoints with 4x4 sport utility vehicles in one of the most deprived and unfree places in the world. It is unfortunate that the Palestinians alone are being held responsible for their statehood building misgivings, when in reality, donor money and donor-picked consultants are really in the 'developmental' driving seat.

One of Dr. Nakhleh's unique techniques in the book is that he does not only characterize the problem but offers ideas for how to move ahead. He notes, "I want to examine whether the genuine development for which we - at least I am - aspiring, is at all feasible in a non-sovereign context." This issue of sovereignty is absolutely in the forefront of today's debate. As stated in the book, "'Autonomy' began to be perceived by the newly constituted PA as tantamount to 'sovereignty.'" As the author accurately notes, "The degree of whatever sovereignty it [the PA] processed was determined, de facto, by Israel, and not by the Accords it had signed." The fear is that Sharon's Unilateral Disengagement Plan is starting to be viewed by the Palestinian leadership as a step toward sovereignty, when in fact, it is nothing of the sort.

"Not once, through the stretch of the last hundred years, were the Palestinians in a real and effective position to decide on the context of intervention in Palestine." "The two times when they had the potential of insisting on the inclusion of positive societal developmental ingredients, during the second half of the 1980's and the mid-1990s, they failed to do so at all levels: that of the 'leadership,' the community-based organizations, and the 'nationalist capital.'" Hence, the challenge ahead is huge indeed and Dr. Nakhleh does not shy away from starting to address it.
The book is structurally organized in a very logical and methodological way. The two periods under review are analyzed by there origins, strategy of intervention, record of intervention, decisions structure, and the writer's assessment. The actual records of interventions are supported with excerpts from the author's field notes and reports at the time, an invaluable window into history.

One full chapter is dedicated to a side-by-side table of the comparisons of the interventions for the pre and post-Oslo periods analyzed using twelve basic developmental variables along with the author's candid diagnosis of the 17 years covered in his analysis.

The final chapter is critical. Dr. Nakhleh puts the bulk of his critical assessment here and proposes what needs to be done. Approaching the topic as a researcher, a practitioner and a Palestinian citizen under occupation, one comes away with a mind- boggling array of issues as food for thought, or as Dr. Nakhleh would agree, food for action.

Specific steps are noted to "'indigenize' the objectives" of Palestinian development. Some are rather specific steps, such as the elimination of the Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction (PECDAR), the agency that the donor countries created prior to Palestinian ministries and bureaucracy being set up. Dr. Nakhleh terms this agency as, "the vestige of the World Bank and the externally imposed agendas."

Dr. Nakhleh calls for "societal participation" in the developmental planning process of Palestine. A difficult task for sure, but one Dr. Nakhleh terms an absolute must given what he proposes "cannot be attained by simply embellishing the existing structure." He affirms that "the requirements must be internal, structural and systematic; they must be transformational, and relate directly to the Palestinian system of governance."

In summary, Dr. Nakhleh coins what needs to be done as "indigenous empowerment" and the target of empowerment squarely being "the ordinary Palestinian person."

Having read The Myth of Palestinian Development immediately after reading Prof. Francis A. Boyle's new book Palestine, Palestinians and International Law (Clarity, 2003), which reveals another set of continuous strategic faults of the Palestinian leadership through the eyes of a practitioner, like Dr. Nakhleh, who was dealing in the realm of international law, working with the 'trees' while still being able to see the 'forest'. Both books are absolutely crucial to the broader understanding of why the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is where it is today. The incompetency and disregard toward Palestinian planning, particularly in the legal and developmental aspects, bring one to the bold conclusion that serious internal restructuring is required within the Palestinian liberation movement before any real progress will be realized in ending the illegal Israeli occupation and establishing the State of Palestine.

* Sam Bahour, a Palestinian-American, lives in the besieged Palestinian City of Al- Bireh and is co-author of HOMELAND: Oral Histories of Palestine and Palestinians (1994) and can be reached at

PR (SAN ANTONIO): Gandhi relative to lead Palestinian peace campaign August 23, 2004

August 11, 2004


(SAN ANTONIO) -- Palestinians for Peace and Democracy ( announces a nonviolence campaign and peace delegation to the Holy Land, August 23-30, 2004.

Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, will be part of the peace delegation to Jordan, Palestine, and Israel. He will be speaking and carrying the nonviolent legacy of his grandfather to this troubled land to inspire millions of people in the Holy Land to adopt nonviolent methods in their struggle andconflict.

Major events during the campaign tour:

23 August: Fundraising dinner in Jordan to raise monies and re-plant razed olive trees
24 August: Visit to the largest refugee camp in the world
26 August: The main event -- massive peace rally in Ramallah
27 August: Israeli & Palestinian peace rally in Abu Dis to resist the Wall
28 August: Visit to Gaza
29 August: Inter-faith candlelight vigil with Christians, Muslims, and Jews at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem
30 August: Visit to Yad Vashem

Dr. Arun Gandhi, founding director of the M. K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, is the grandson of Mahatma and is committed to carrying on that great legacy. Arun travels and speaks, nationally and internationally, inspiring this nonviolent legacy within the given context and climate. Dr. Gandhi also has his own legacy of nonviolent training development and community organizing. His latest book is "Legacy of Love."

Palestinians for Peace and Democracy, San Antonio, Texas, is a non-profit organization and grassroots movement of Palestinians in the U.S. and inPalestine.

It is dedicated to the promotion of peace and justice for the Palestinian People and the use of peaceful resistance to the occupation of Palestine -- its land and its people.


Palestinians for Peace and Democracy
210.389.4890 until August 20
011972544411921 after August 20
During the actual tour a daily report can be found at:>

PR (LOS ANGELES): Muslim, Christian, Jewish family weekend 8-11-04

Invitation to Muslim, Jewish, and Christian familiesShare a unique California weekend in the beautiful Sierra Mountains near Yosemite Valley

Second Annual Palestinian-Jewish Weekend

Oseh Shalom~Sanea al-Salam Family Peacemakers Camp
Friday 'til Sunday, Sept. 10-12, 2004

Something for each adult and child in your family!
Show your children that Jews and Palestinians can be magnificent partners
Ideal for Dialogue group participants. Bring your Dialogue partners.

RESERVATIONS and INFORMATION:Ann Gonski ~ ~ Camp Tawonga ~ ~ Tel: 415-543-2267 ~ ~ Ann@tawonga.orgCAMP HIGHLIGHTSCompassionate listening workshop ~ ~ Relationship buildingMusic, singing, dancing ~ ~ Family photo & history cornerArts & crafts of diverse traditions ~ ~ Campfire talent showGreat international cuisine ~ ~ Tuolumne River nature walksHigh adventure challenge course ~ ~ Lake boatingInterfaith text study and discussionHow to write & publish effective letters & opinion articles More about the camp:
See last year's camp stories and photos:

LAST YEAR'S CAMPERS SAID:"I came to camp with a 'show me' attitude. But the weekend was a transformative experience that helped free me from the past and begin to move forward." -- Israeli camper, daughter of Holocasut survivor"It was a weekend to remember. People could express themselves and be heard in a safe place. If it can be done here, it can be done anywhere. We both demonstrated to each other that we do not need to be enemies." -- Palestinian man, born in Ramallah"I found deep meaning in meeting 'the enemy' more personally for the first time." -- Recent IDF soldier"I could not have felt more welcome. As you know it's been very difficult for me coming back from my trip to Qalquilya, Ramallah, and Jerusalem, so it was very healing to see and feel all the support." -- Palestinian woman camper
RESERVATIONS and INFORMATION:Ann Gonski ~ ~ Camp Tawonga ~ ~ Tel: 415-543-2267 ~ ~

PR (NABLUS, PALESTINE): Israelis injure Red Crescent medic 8-11-04

PRCS Medic injured in Nablus

Press Release, 11 August 2004

(Nablus) -- On 10 August 2004, at 9:00 am, a PRCS medic was injured while on route to transport injuries to hospital during an Israeli Army incursion into the Old city of Nablus.

A steal-coated rubber bullet fired by Israeli soldiers penetrated the ambulance causing injury to the medic’s head. The medic was immediately transported to Rafeedia Hospital for treatment.
These practices constitute a breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the First Additional Protocol of the Geneva conventions, which are legally applied to the occupied Palestinian territories. In particular, they violate articles 63 of the Fourth Geneva Convention which stresses that ” Subject to temporary and exceptional measures imposed for urgent reasons of security by the Occupied Power, recognized National red cross and red crescent societies shall be able to pursue their activities in accordance with Red Cross principles, as defined by the international Red Cross Conferences…” In addition to article 21 of the First Additional Protocol of the Geneva conventions, which stresses that,” Medical vehicles shall be respected and protected in the same way as mobile medical units under the Conventions and this Protocol.”
For full text see:

For more information please contact Press Office at:
Phone: +972 2 240 6515/6/7

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

PR (NEW YORK): CPJ blasts Iraq's censorship of al-Jazeera (8-10-04)

Disputes accusations that station incited violence
Committee to Protect Journalists

330 Seventh Avenue,
New York, NY 10001 USA
Phone: (212) 465-1004
Fax: (212) 465-9568
E-Mail: media@cpj.org

Contact: Joel Campagna
Telephone: (212) 465-1004

New York, August 10, 2004-The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) today sent a letter to Iraqi Prime Minster Iyad Allawi urging the Iraqi government to rescind the ban on the Qatar-based satellite news channel Al-Jazeera, which was barred from working in the country for 30 days on August 7.

In the letter, CPJ also disputed the Iraqi government's claim that thestation had incited violence and hatred.

"The Iraqi government may be unhappy with Al-Jazeera's coverage but has presented no evidence that the channel's reporting constitutes a deliberate attempt to incite violence inIraq, nor that it is likely to do so. This closure appears to be an attempt to sanction a news organization for its negative coverage of events insideIraq," wrote CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper.

A copy of the letter follows

August 10, 2004

His Excellency Iyad Allawi
Prime Minister Iraqi Interim Government
C/o Embassy of Iraq to the United States
1801 P St, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036
Via Facsimile: (202) 462-5066

Your Excellency:

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) strongly protests the Iraqi interim government's closure of the Iraq offices of the Qatar-based satellite news channel Al-Jazeera. On August 7, the interim government barred Al-Jazeera from working in Iraqfor 30 days, accusing the station of incitement to violence and hatred,according to news reports.

Your Excellency announced the decision at a pressconference, noting that an Iraqi media monitoring body had produced a report"on the issues of incitement and the problems Al-Jazeera has been causing."You also said the ban was implemented to "protect the people of Iraq and theinterests of Iraq."

In justifying the government's decision, Your Excellency asserted that Al-Jazeera's reporting on kidnappings in Iraq had encouraged Iraqimilitants. Other Iraqi officials accused the station of being a mouthpiecefor terrorist groups; depicting criminal activity; creating a negative picture of events in Iraq; and contributing to instability in Iraq.

To CPJ's knowledge, the station was banned without any due process, and themedia commission's report has not been made public. Iraqi officials have also failed to provide further details to support their allegations. The closure of Al-Jazeera is a serious blow to press freedom in Iraq.

While we appreciate Iraqi government concerns about the security situation inIraq, we believe this action is unjustified. The Iraqi government may beunhappy with Al-Jazeera's coverage but has presented no evidence that thechannel's reporting constitutes a deliberate attempt to incite violence inIraq, nor that it is likely to do so.

This closure appears to be an attemptto sanction a news organization for negative coverage of events inside Iraq. Governments should be free to criticize news coverage, and there should bean open debate about professionalism and ethics in media coverage. The Iraq igovernment should be encouraged to engage with news organizations, such as Al-Jazeera, with which it disagrees.

But by adopting crude censorshipmethods, Iraqi authorities have damaged their credibility as a governmentthat supports the internationally guaranteed right to freedom of the press. One month ago, following your decision to re-open Al-Hawza newspaper-whichwas shuttered by the U.S.-backed Coalition Provisional Authority inMarch-you expressed your "absolute belief in the freedom of the press."

An organization of journalists dedicated to defending our colleaguesworldwide, CPJ calls on you to demonstrate this commitment by ensuring that Al-Jazeera is allowed to resume its work in Iraq immediately and withoutfurther harassment. We further call on you to ensure that media in Iraq arefree to conduct their professional work without further governmentinterference.Thank you for your attention to this important matter. We look forward toyour reply.

Ann K. Cooper
Executive Director

CC:American Society of Newspaper EditorsAmnesty InternationalArticle 19 (United Kingdom)Artikel 19 (The Netherlands)Canadian Journalists for Free ExpressionFreedom ForumFreedom HouseHuman Rights WatchIndex on CensorshipInternational Center for JournalistsInternational Federation of JournalistsInternational PENInternational Press InstituteLorne W. Craner, United States Assistant Secretary for Democracy, HumanRights, and LaborThe Newspaper GuildThe North American Broadcasters AssociationOverseas Press ClubReporters Sans FrontièresThe Society of Professional JournalistsWorld Association of NewspapersWorld Press Freedom CommitteeCPJ is a New York-based, independent, nonprofit organization that works tosafeguard press freedom worldwide. For more information, visit

Hani SabraResearcherMiddle East and North AfricaCommittee to Protect Journalists330 Seventh Avenue12th FloorNew York, NY 10001Tel: (212) 465-1004, x-104Fax: (212) 465-9568Web:

Monday, August 09, 2004

PR: (JERUSALEM): Christian Muslim ties praised


3 August 2004‏‏

Three heads of Churches in Jerusalem, Roman Catholic Patriarch Michel Sabbah, Lutheran Bishop Munib Younan, and Greek Melkite Archimandrite Mtanios Haddad visited three predominantly Muslim Palestinian communities August 2nd, showing their support and appreciation for the work of the members of the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI).

During the visits to the West Bank communities of Tulkarem, Jayyous and Nablus, the three Church heads met with Christian and Muslim religious and civil leaders, demonstrating once again the cooperation between members of both faiths and the fact that the Palestinian people are one and united. The work of the Ecumenical Accompaniers was praised by the delegation and local community leaders as demonstrating the positive role that Christian Churches play in Palestinian society, both Muslim and Christian.

The sites were chosen because Ecumenical Accompaniers have been working in all three places. The Church leaders also wanted to show solidarity with those communities, which have suffered the effects of Israel’s continued construction of its “Separation Wall” and its restrictive policies towards the freedom of movement.

Latin Patriarch Sabbah showed his appreciation for the work of the EAPPI in his address before a group of Christian and Muslim religious and secular leaders in Nablus. “The love of Christ is not only for Christians; it is for everyone,” Sabbah said. “And to the Ecumenical Accompaniers from the World Council of Churches, we called upon you and you came. We have put faith in you and we are always with you. This is an occasion to tell you thank you, and also thank you to the Churches you represent and the World Council of Churches.”

Bishop Younan saw the EAPPI as instrumental in showing how all people of faith can work together towards a common goal of peace. “It is not true that there is a struggle between Christianity and Islam,” Younan said. “We are communicating to the world that we are one nation, one cause, seeking justice and reconciliation – Christians and Muslims. This programme (EAPPI) proves this as it is not only in Palestine but in Israel as well. We work with everyone who works for justice and reconciliation – Christians, Muslims and Jews. This programme works with people of all three faiths who work against injustice and for reaching a solution as members of one human family.”

Archimandrite Haddad reiterated the words of his two colleagues concerning the position of the EAPPI as well as Christian-Muslim relations. “This programme is important,” Haddad said. “It shows that the Church is working for justice, without worrying about whom we are helping. I am very happy that Muslims accept the Ecumenical Accompaniers without worrying about religious divisions. This shows that it is not a religious problem; it is a political problem. This programme is a Christian testimony to peace. We want a dialogue with people of faith from all three religions: Christianity, Islam and Judaism.”

Abu Azzam, a member of the Land Defense Committee in Jayyous, was one of many members of the local communities who thanked both the Churches and the EAPPI for their help. “We are one people, Muslims and Christians. We are together against the occupation. This visit not only confirms that but shows the support we get from the Churches and that we are not alone. They have supported us all the time. The Ecumenical Accompaniers show that as well. …They are good friends to this community, and we are all one family.”

Ann-Catrin Andersson from Sweden, one of the Accompaniers present in Jayyous, was thankful for the visit of the three Church leaders. “It’s an honor for them to come and see what we’re doing here and the people’s reaction in the village,” Andersson said. “It is very important to see the commitment to us from the people who invited us. It is gratifying to see that they appreciate us. …There are strong relations between the Christian Church and the community, a fruitful cooperation. I think that the work of the Ecumenical Accompaniers here has helped as well.”

The EAPPI was launched following a call by the heads of Churches in Jerusalem for an ecumenical presence here in the Holy Land. Ecumenical Accompaniers are placed in communities throughout Palestine and Israel, working alongside all those who struggle nonviolently against the occupation.

For more information on the WCC:
For more information on EAPPI: